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Gösta Berlings Saga - Tid Är Ljud CD (album) cover


Gösta Berlings Saga

Eclectic Prog

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erik neuteboom
3 stars What a beautiful name for a progrock band in which two members are mentioned as playing the unsurpassed Mellotron, unfortunately only in two songs and not really omnipresent. The focus is on the Fender Rhoed electric piano, caressing our ears whith its very distinctive sound in most of the tracks. A strong point in Gosta Berlings Saga their music is the interplay between the guitar and keyboards but I am also impressed by the subtle shifting moods and creative musical ideas. This makes listening to this Swedish progrock band to a special experience because it sounds quite orignal with jazzy undertones and a tasteful colouring by instruments like the flute, slide-guitar, violin, some spectacular synthesizer work and a few Mellotron waves.

If you like instrumental prog with an adventurous touch and the accent on melodies and harmony, this is a fine album to check out. My rating: 3,5 stars.

Report this review (#129283)
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Well I have to agree with Eric with the 3.5 star rating for GOSTA BERLINGS SAGA's debut.There's so much here that I like though that I feel bad for not giving this 4 stars, problem is that there's even more here that I haven't been able to get into yet. More listens to come so that may change. I do really like the keyboards on this one, and count the Fender Rhodes playing by David Lundberg as the highlight for me.

"Helgamarktz" opens with cricket-like sounds that are building. There must be a lot of them. Synths and acoustic guitar slip in unoticed by the hoard before it kicks in at 1 1/2 minutes. What a great sound here. "Syrenernas Sang" opens with a heavy beat. Keys before a minute. Some spoken words after 4 minutes,guitar too. The tempo picks back up again after 6 minutes. "Aniarasviten" kicks in before 30 seconds. It settles 1 1/2 minutes in as the guitar slowly plays. A change after 4 minutes,some atmosphere too. It settles right down then kicks back in.

"Ljud Fran Stan" at least has some energy. Guitar before 3 minutes as he starts to solo. It's building before 6 1/2 minutes. Great sound. Crickets end it. "Tog Du Med Dig Naturen" is drum and guitar led. A steady and repetitive rhythm is the result. It finally changes before 8 minutes.8 minutes ! It settles again late. Keys come to the fore quickly on "Knolsvanen". It kicks in with a nice heavy sound 1 1/2 minutes in. The tempo picks up around 3 minutes. It then stops and builds again. Great sound again 6 1/2 minutes in. A gong ends it (where are the crickets?). "Svarta Hal Och Elljusspar" opens with guitar that recalls Fripp somewhat. Keys and a full sound come in quickly. It settles after 3 1/2 minutes. We get some flute and mellotron too (before 7 minutes) as it stays calm to the end.

This sounds so good at times, I just wish it did more often.

Report this review (#265674)
Posted Thursday, February 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Although I generally find that Scandinavian's two most important decades for contributing to the prog cause are the 70's and 90's, I must say that the second wave seem to have lost a lot of steam in the 00's, but there still a few surprises, like the Norwegian Elephant 9 or the early Paatos and this GBS, which escaped my radar until fairly recently. This standard prog quartet appeared in the middle of the decade and released their debut album in late 06, but apparently this was a rather discreet side-door entrance on the scene. It's not the album's design that the culprit, here because this sumptuous digipak is very catchy (for progheads anyway) and the booklet is filled with marvellous naïve drawings that fit rather well their music. Sonically this group develops a mainly instrumental prog rock, often close to the typically- Scandic mellotron-laden retro-prog

The seven tracks , that range from five to almost ten minutes, are almost totally instrumental (a few spoken phrases on the Syrenernas sang - Siren's Song I believe), but the quartet receives help from a few guests, including two violins on Aniarasviten and Naturen tracks, the former also benefiting from weird electronics bruitages, and a flute on the closing track. The group's sonic spectrum is clearly an organ (by synth)-lead prog that features the typical Nordic melancholy, neither too-classical nor too-jazz leaning, just mainly rock. One of the very few critics I could formulate is that the group tends to overstay a bit too long in the great grooves they found, without trying to extrapolate, just content to expands in terms of lengthy solos, but then again the groove and enthralling solos are enough to keep me happy in the greater scheme of recent prog releases.

BTW, I can't help thinking that graphic designer Berglund is somehow related to keyboardist Lundberg, but this is just a hunch, based upon inverted syllables in names. A superb debut album that has caused me to review my top twenty of the last decade, and it's possible that one I will re-evaluate it downwards, once I will freed from its spell. But in the meantime, it's not likely to happen too soon.

Report this review (#306083)
Posted Friday, October 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Tid ar Ljud (Time is Sound) was the debut album from Swedish instrumental prog rock band, Gosta Berlings Saga.

I discovered this band after the release of their second album, Detta Har Hant, and truthfully it was so good that I was afraid to listen to this album for fear that it wouldn't captivate me to the same degree. Luckily, it didn't take a lot of listens to realise that Gosta Berlings Saga had come out of the gates strongly, and that their debut album was just as strong as its follow-up.

The band play instrumental rock music, and although they have a standard rock lineup of drums, keyboards, bass and guitar, they sound far removed from standard rock band. The music is built from carefully constructed layers of music that create entrancing textures, and as the details of the music are uncovered it only grows in appeal. This is definitely an album where there are plenty of details to uncover through multiple listens.

Between this album and Detta Har Hant, the band had switched guitarists, and so there is a bit of a difference in the sound here. Matthias Danielson doesn't create textures with quite the precision that Einar Baldursson would on the next album, but he puts a bit more rock and heaviness into his playing, making this album a bit meatier than its follow-up. This works quite well, and the closing track, Svarta Hal Och Elljusspår (Black holes and Floodlit Track) is perhaps the best example of this. It is also possibly the best track I have heard from this very talented group thus far.

Definitely a recommended listen. Now to get my hands on their latest, "Glue Works"...

Report this review (#454964)
Posted Monday, May 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Gösta Berlings Saga have given us quite a treat for their freshman album. They have an interesting style, one which hints of Discipline-era King Crimson; although they share a similarity, they're both very distinctly different styles. The Fender Rhodes Electric piano drives this album, and does so quite well. Another thing I like about this band: they don't sing. Instrumentals only (with a bit of speaking in one track only.) The album kicks off with an excellent opening track entitled "Helgamarktz" with a high-energy theme. The beginning reminds me of a crossover of Roundabout (Yes) and Memories of Old Days (Gentle Giant). It starts slowly, with an ambient chord on the organ, and guitars come in. It quickly picks up, however, and this is one of the quickest tracks on the album. 10/10.

The next, Syrenernas Sång, has a crunchy theme on the Rhodes with a wah pedal. I love this track, but the speaking halfway through gets in the way of the cool guitar solo. 9/10.

Aniarasviten starts fast, but actually gets slower as it progresses. The fast opening is great, and so is the mellotron-drenched middle. I'm not too fond of the more static ending, but this is still a great track. 8/10.

Ljud Från Stan is another rocker, rivaling Helgamarktz. It has a nice solo on the aforementioned Fender Rhodes. 8/10.

Tog Du Med Dig Naturen is my least favorite on the album, it's just kind of slow. It's got an alright theme, but it's ten minutes of a theme that never really develops. 5/10.

Knölsvanen has a cool intro on the Rhodes. It then goes into a somewhat twisted melody. 7/10.

The last track, Svarta Hål och Elljusspår starts with lots of tritones. This one in particular reminds me of Discipline. It makes use of many repeated phrases, seeming like minimalism. It goes into a slower middle (with flute!) 7/10.

Well, there you have it. Some really great Swedish prog.

Report this review (#634017)
Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The story of this interesting Swedish act from the Vallingby suburb of Stockholm begins in 2000, when keyboardist David Lundberg and drummer Alexander Skepp formed Pelikaan, influenced by the music of the 60's duo Hansson & Karlsson.Four years later the line-up was expanded with the addition of Gabriel Hermansson on bass and Mathias Danielsson on guitar, while the group would change its name to Gosta Berlings Saga, inspired by the eponymous 19th century novel of author Selma Lagerlof.In 2005 they recorded their debut ''Tid ar ljud'' at their private studio and Swedish label Transubstans Records released it in 2006.

The music of Gosta Berlings Saga could be easily described as instrumental Retro Prog with obvious influences from 70's groups like RAG I RYGGEN or KEBNEKAISE, building their sound on complicated Psych/Prog instrumental themes and enriching it with Fusion and light symphonic vibes.The crying guitars, the scratching grooves, the vintage electric piano and the dreamy Hammond organ create nostalgic, old-school soundscapes, often with an obvious Scandinavian flavor.Some of the guitar/Mellotron-driven parts have an ANEKDOTEN feeling, though the music is much more on the brighter side of the things, but the great synth moves and plenty of the guitar work presented contains bits from the music of KAIPA or even THE FLOWER KINGS or LIQUID SCARLET.Jazzy solos, rockin' rhythms and organ-based Psychedelic Rock are brought together in a lovely amalgam of adventurous textures, full of interesting breaks, careful melodies, professional interplays and ethereal passages.The later tracks contain also moments of a jamming attitude with loose rhythms and solos around, typical of the 70's Psych/Prog group, with the guitar, organ and piano work shining through, while the music remains fairly interesting and competent.

Very good debut by yet another talented modern Swedish Prog group, that remains faithful to the roots of Prog music.Instrumental Prog, balanced between melody, energy and technique.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Report this review (#1043367)
Posted Tuesday, September 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Transubstans specializes in the promotion of groups which are in the seventies the source of inspiration. So it is also for this group from Stockholm, which we propose a prog album entirely instrumental in the tradition of bands like King Crimson and Magma, a middle ground between prog and experimental jazz . The whole pervaded by an attitude absolutely freak !

It almost seems to make a jump in the past between mellotron and hypnotic crescendo, the enchanted flute in the final of songs like " Svarta ...", between forays to the limits of space rock and an incredible taste for improvisation. But I started from the end of ' album rather than the beginning this is because while listening, I got lost in the maze of the disc. Just close your eyes during the arpeggio of " Helgamarktz " to begin a journey into the wonderful music of this group, the song at one point assumes the space style, even if the matrix is that its progressive .. This attitude remains on each track thanks to a liquid guitar very effective. The following " Syrenernas Sang " has some parts that seem recorded on the contrary that add an esoteric effect to the whole. Although presented a remarkable diversity tracks meet all the characteristics that we have tried to describe.

The Gosta Berlings Saga is a band out of time and that is why I like them, also show that you can make music class and quality ', even in those years where everything now seems hopelessly fake and synthesized, a record that deserves much more than a listen.

Report this review (#1074001)
Posted Friday, November 8, 2013 | Review Permalink

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